Blue Origin and Sierra Space announced plans for Orbital Reef, a commercially developed, owned, and operated space station to be built in low Earth orbit. The station will open the next chapter of human space exploration and development by facilitating the growth of a vibrant ecosystem and business model for the future. Orbital Reef is backed by space industry leaders and teammates including Boeing, Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions, and Arizona State University.
Nextbigfuture thinks this is a far better play for Blue Origin. They need to not focus on trying to beat SpaceX for launch services. They can get whatever government revenue there is from being a secondary option. Even a secondary launch option is not certain because Rocketlab is ahead for orbital launches. Rocketlab is still small launchers. Blue Origin might be able to get second option launches. Focusing on space stations and colonization and space industry is a better choice. Peter Thiel and Varda Space are going for Space manufacturing.
The Orbital Reef Plan
Orbital Reef will be operated as a “mixed use business park” in space. Shared infrastructure efficiently supports the proprietary needs of diverse tenants and visitors. It features a human-centered space architecture with world-class services and amenities that is inspiring, practical, and safe. As the premier commercial destination in low Earth orbit, Orbital Reef will provide the essential infrastructure needed to scale economic activity and open new markets in space. Reusable space transportation and smart design, accompanied by advanced automation and logistics, will minimize cost and complexity for both traditional space operators and new arrivals, allowing the widest range of users to pursue their goals. The open system architecture allows any customer or nation to link up and scale to support demand. Module berths, vehicle ports, utilities, and amenities all increase as the market grows.
The Orbital Reef business model makes it easy for customers and is strategically designed to support a diverse portfolio of uses. The team has all the services and systems to meet the needs of emergent customers, including researchers, manufacturers, and visitors. Orbital Reef offers standard interfaces at all levels – locker, rack, and module. Seasoned space agencies, high-tech consortia, sovereign nations without space programs, media and travel companies, funded entrepreneurs and sponsored inventors, and future-minded investors all have a place on Orbital Reef.
The Orbital Reef team of experts brings proven capabilities and new visions to provide key elements and services, including unique experience from building and operating the International Space Station:
Blue Origin – Utility systems, large-diameter core modules, and reusable heavy-lift New Glenn launch system.
Sierra Space – Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) module, node module, and runway-landing Dream Chaser spaceplane for crew and cargo transportation, capable of landing on runways worldwide.
Boeing – Science module, station operations, maintenance engineering, and Starliner crew spacecraft.
Redwire Space – Microgravity research, development, and manufacturing; payload operations and deployable structures.
Genesis Engineering Solutions – Single Person Spacecraft for routine operations and tourist excursions.
Arizona State University – Leads a global consortium of universities providing research advisory services and public outreach.
Orbital Reef will fly over most of humankind in a mid-inclination, 500-kilometer orbit. Anyone can lease access to the space environment – weightlessness and hard vacuum – and experience breathtaking views of our home planet, with 32 vibrant sunrises and sunsets each day. Whether your business is scientific research, exploration system development, invention and manufacture of new and unique products, media and advertising, or exotic hospitality.
The Baseline Configuration has separate science and habitation zones and supports 10 people in 830 cubic meters of volume – almost as much as the ISS – in big modules with big windows.
Nextbigfuture notes that it is also smaller than the volume of one SpaceX Starship which has 1100 cubic meters.
SOURCES- Orbital Reef, Blue Origin
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.